08:22 GMT20 June 2021
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    Judge Charlaine Olmedo believed the three accusers' claims that their belief in the Church of Scientology's teachings kept them from reporting fellow-Scientologist Danny Masterson to the police for years after the alleged attacks.

    A Los Angeles judge has ruled that TV actor Danny Masterson must stand trial on three counts of rape dating back two decades.

    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charlaine F. Olmedo made the determination against the That ’70s Show star on the fourth day of a preliminary hearing into the charges.

    The court previously heard emotional testimony from three women, all members of the Church of Scientology like Masterson, who claimed under oath that he raped them between 2001 and 2003.

    The judge gave credence to the accusers' claims that their belief in the celebrity-packed church's teachings is what kept them from reporting Masterson to the police for many years.

    Masterson denies the charges, and his attorney, Thomas Mesereau, insists the sex was consensual and that her client can prove his innocence.

    The actor, now 45, could face a sentence of up to 45 years in jail if convicted.


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